Graduate Catalog

M.A. in Deaf Studies: Language and Human Rights

Dr. Erin Moriarty Harrelson, Program Coordinator 

The Concentration in Language and Human Rights is designed to give a globally based student population an understanding of the development of the U.S. and international human rights instruments, institutions, and discourses, with a focus on languages and linguistic minorities. Students will work a full academic year toward the completion of their research project which may take the form of a thesis or an applied project. This focus will give students a solid background in academic research and international policy-making which can be used to work in the field of linguistic human rights, with special attention to the unique situation of peoples who use sign language. Courses in this concentration are offered via both onsite and online instruction.

Admissions Procedures and Requirements

Applicants for the M.A. in Deaf Studies must complete the application procedures and meet the requirements for graduate study at Gallaudet University. Visit the Graduate Admissions web site for more information and a checklist of application requirements. Detailed program information and course descriptions are also available under the 'Overview' and 'Courses' tabs.

First Date for Consideration of Application: November 15
Due Date for Completed Application: February 15

Program Specific Requirements:

  • Three letters of reference
  • ASL Essay: Personal Statement. In video format, submit a personal statement of interest in the program. This essay will be used for 2 purposes. It will give help us understand your personal interest in our program and will also be used to determine your proficiency in ASL. Why are you applying for this degree? What do you hope to gain from the degree? What are your professional interests after you graduate?
  • On your application (on page A1), please ensure that you note which concentration you are considering: Cultural Studies or Language and Human Rights.
  • Transcripts
  • ASLPI 3 or above.
  • GPA 3.0 or above.

Recommended Prior Coursework:

  • Introduction to Deaf Culture
  • Introduction to ASL Structure

Plan of Study

All students admitted to the program must complete the following core courses with grades of B or higher.

Semester I (Fall)

DST 700Deaf Studies Research Methods I


DST 703Deaf Cultural Studies


DST 705Language, Culture, and Power


DST 740Studies in the Human Rights of Deaf People


Semester II (Spring)

DST 701Deaf Studies Research Methods II


DST 712Enforcing Normalcy: Deaf and Disability Studies


DST 735Sensory Studies


DST 741Development of the Transnational Deaf Public Sphere


Concentration in Language and Human Rights

Semester III (Fall)

DST 733Theory & Identity in Deaf Studies


DST 743Language Advocacy in Deaf Communities


DST 780Deaf Studies Master's Project I


Semester IV (Spring)

DST 737Law & Public Policy: The Deaf Community


DST 781Deaf Studies Master's Project II


DST 790Deaf Studies Internship


Total Credit Hours: 38